The Dining Out Team has just returned from a most pleasant evening at Ticino restaurant (pronounced “Tichino”, said owner Peter), a venue just a little off the usual beaten track.
Being on the so-called ‘dark side’, it is, however, less than 20 minutes from central Pattaya and can be accessed via Soi Siam Country Club, or Soi Nernplabwan, or Soi Khao Talo, with landmarks including Plenary Park, Little Hill and Swiss Paradise village. For those with iPhones (or SatNavs) Ticino will even give you coordinates which will get you right there! I will also state at the outset, that the trip to get there was worth it.
The entrance leads you past a group of Vespa motor scooters, with the eponymous Vespa Bar on your right. Continue through and you find it is a garden restaurant, with cabanas dotted around the garden to continue the ‘rustic’ look. A nice touch was the bottle of mosquito repellent on the table if needed. We didn’t. Service staff are well dressed with aprons and there was enough of them, and the bell on the table was responded to very quickly.
The menu is quite comprehensive, with some items not often seen in Pattaya’s restaurants. The direction is European, but there are many Thai choices as well. Ticino is a canton in Switzerland, if you are wondering about the origin of the name.
The wines are predominantly Italian, with a Spanish Rioja creeping in at the end. There are also four house wines (B. 140-180 per glass) and these are graded for you (light to heavy) by restaurateur Peter. Plenty of choices in aperitifs (and we went for a Ricard, which is always a great palate freshener).
Ticino offers the diner eight different salads (B. 90-280) with a Caesar at the top end. These are followed in the menu by seven soups (B. 90-140) and more about the soups later in the review.
There is one complete page of cheese items for the cheese lovers, including the typically Swiss raclette.
The items on offer cover beef, rabbit, veal, lamb, fish, poultry, risotto, spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli, pizza and a lighthearted “pizza yourself”. Most items are priced between B. 200-350, though the imported lamb chops do carry a premium.
We both ordered soups, with Madame choosing the French Onion, whilst I went for the Minestrone Ticino. We were surprised initially, when almost empty bowls were brought to the table, but they were followed by stainless steel containers with the soup poured in and served piping hot. And both were most enjoyable, and were served with hot, crusty bread rolls.
For mains, Madame selected the NZ lamb chops, and being particularly partial to these also had specific requirements as to their cooking. “No problems,” said Peter and his son who is in charge of the kitchen came to our table to receive the instructions. The chops were presented cooked exactly as ordered. And Madame finished her meal very impressed both with the service and the food.
For myself, I ordered the very Swiss dish of sliced veal and mushrooms with rosti potatoes. Again, the potatoes were excellent and the quantity of the veal was such that I could not finish, much to my chagrin. It was an excellent item.
We sat back and enjoyed the last of the Salento wine and took our leave after a very full and satisfying meal.
We thoroughly enjoyed the experience at Ticino. The food was of a high standard and the prices most reasonable. We were impressed with the delivery of the soups, poured at the table, ensuring that they were hot (as soups should be, with the exception of Gazpacho). With a choice of four house wines, we went for the heavier Salento red from Southern Italy and we were not disappointed. Portion sizes were also more than adequate. We would also suggest you book, as on the evening we were there it was quite busy. Definitely recommended.
Ticino, opposite Little Hill and close to Swiss Paradise, telephone 084 676 7376, GPS N12.9180 E00.9334, but Ticino will also send you maps if you want. Email [email protected] Open 5 p.m. until late six days (closed Tuesdays). Off-street car parking.